Buying at auction is often a great way to find active home sellers of all kinds that are keen to do a deal.
Another major benefit is that you’re much more likely to avoid the stress, hassles and silly games that frequently occur when dealing with estate agents.
After all, should yours be the highest bid when the hammer falls, you’ll have a specific timeframe to get things done (not meeting your financial obligations will result in heavy penalties). The transaction can then complete in shorter timeframes relative to a private treaty sale.
If you’re exploring how to buy at auction, it can be tough to know where to start! How do you locate the right local property auctions to suit your requirements?
In this article, the auction professionals at Property Solvers provide a little insight into where you might find the perfect lot on which to bid…
Auction House Websites
The majority of national property auction houses across the country now have a website on which they list all of their upcoming (and sold) lots.
What’s more, the term “auction house” does not simply refer to a physical establishment anymore. You can use the websites to check out properties up for auction on a certain date and see what’s available for online, phone and proxy bidding.
Before participating in any type of auction, be sure to:
- Examine the standards, terms, conditions and regulations of each lot well in advance
- Instruct a conveyancing solicitor, who can also examine the auction legal pack (for a fee)
- Have visited the property
- Understand the current state of the property and what your post-purchase costs would be
- Be clear on your budget and have a clear bidding limit
- Have the cash funds or auction finance available to make the purchase
- Register to bid in good time.
For some unknown reason, many sellers outside of the capital still choose to use London auction houses. Whilst they’re certainly not getting the best exposure, from a buyer’s perspective, there are often some interesting opportunities worth investigating.
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Many properties listed on these platforms are available via the “modern method of auction“. This refers to a “conditional” sale and involves the highest bidder paying a non-refundable “reserve price” of up to 5% of the agreed sale figure. After this, they are granted an exclusivity period, which usually lasts around 20 business days.
The buyer can use this period to instruct a solicitor, arrange a survey, get their finances in order and undertake any further due diligence. Should any issues arise, it is possible for the buyer to withdraw their bid. They will lose their reserve fee if they do this, but they won’t be liable for the full amount they originally bid – which is usually the case with traditional auction.
After the exclusivity period, there is a completion period – usually lasting another 20 days or more – during which time the buyer and seller must exchange contracts.
Portals like Rightmove and Zoopla don’t only have properties listed for estate agency sale (or rental). You can also use them to search for auction property – and you can browse by guide price.
There are also a number of lesser-known sites where available auction lots often appear. These include:
- The House Shop
- Residential People
- Net House Prices
- Property Heads
- Property Mutual
- Gumtree’s property pages
- eBay’s property pages
- Mumsnet’s Local Pages
- House Ladder
- Property Pidgeon
- Renovate Me
- Property Renovate (London Only)
- Trovit Renovations
- Wreck of the Week
- Realla UK (Commercial / Mixed Use Auction Property and Land)
- Propertylink (Commercial / Mixed Use Auction Property and Land)
Estate Agent and Auctioneer Partnerships
Estate agents often partner with reputable auction houses to market properties that may be struggling to sell.
Building solid relationships with local agents and other industry contacts can sometimes mean you’re given a heads up on interesting opportunities.
Many properties are put up for auction by banks and mortgage lenders after homeowners default on their mortgage.
Note that it’s not possible to contact lenders and banks directly to discuss repossessed properties they wish to dispose of. They are legally required to sell the property on the open market rather than accept private offers. This is so that they can achieve the best possible price to cover their liabilities.
Nonetheless, such properties can be purchased for reasonable prices at auction.
Remember that most auction property will remain in the condition in which its previous owner left it. This means that such stock often will require cosmetic improvements and/or renovation after it comes into your possession.
Local Authorities and Housing Associations
These organisations often look for quick disposals of properties that no longer serve their requirements.
Similar to searching for repossessed stock, councils and other social housing providers will want to expose properties to as many potential auction buyers as possible.
Although it may be possible to obtain lists of properties going to market, you’re unlikely to be able to purchase directly (or make pre-auction offers).
If you’re looking for a property that is local to a specific area – why not simply drive around?
Many auctioneers place signs in front of their properties. These are similar to standard “For Sale” or “To Let” signs and display the auctioneer’s details.
All you have to do is take note of the information relating to any house you like the look of.
Property Investor Networking
There is an abundance of property investor live / online networking groups and forums where fellow auction buyers discuss micro auction markets and the sector at large.
Property Sales Specialists
As a multi-purpose property sales organisation, Property Solvers incorporate a fully-fledged auction service.
We offer both a wide range of traditional and modern online auction lots – including commercial, residential or combined use buildings as well as land, industrial and warehouse space amongst others.
Should you have any questions about the terms and conditions of our auction sales, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always available to chat…